Kristen Dunphy's earliest role in the film industry was as assistant to the director (Gillian Armstrong) on the 1987 film High Tide (written by Laura Jones). In an interview with the Australian in October 2012, she said of her start in the industry
I contacted a list of producers looking for work, including Sandra Levy who was producing the feature High Tide (1987), and she offered to take me on as director Gillian Armstrong's assistant. Shortly after the film was shot, Sandra was appointed Head of ABC TV Drama and she took me with her.
Her earliest scripts were for medical drama G.P., for which she began writing in 1992 (and for which she continued to write until 1996, writing at least eight episodes). In the same period, she was also writing scripts for crime drama Heartland(1994), children's puppet-based comedy The Ferals (1995-1995),and teen drama Heartbreak High (1995-1997).
In the late 1990s, she contributed scripts to legal drama Fallen Angels (1997), young-adult time-travel fantasy Mirror Mirror II (1997), crime drama Murder Call (1997-1998) and Wildside (1998-1999), and medical drama All Saints (1999).
In the early 2000s, she had a spate of working on crime dramas, with scripts for Water Rats (2000), at least ten episodes of White Collar Blue (2002-2003), and the script for telemovie BlackJack: Sweet Science (2004).
In 2012, Dunphy was named as the recipient of that year's Foxtel Fellowship, awarded at the AWGIE Awards in recognition of a 'significant contribution to the Australian cultural landscape made by television writing'.
'The Principal is a story of intrigue and personal identity set against the backdrop of a boys high school in turmoil in South West Sydney.
'Matt Bashir, history teacher and former Deputy at a prestigious girls’ school, is swiftly promoted to the position of Principal of Boxdale Boys High. Boxdale is a troubled school with a history of conflict and Matt is determined to turn it around but his attempts at reform are met with scepticism and in some quarters, hostility from his beleaguered colleagues. But just when it seems he is making progress, a 17-year-old student is found dead on the school grounds.'
'Six teenagers, all elite within their own field, have come to live at Arcadia House to pursue their dreams. For some it's the opportunity of a lifetime. For others it's a last chance. All are strangers, some a long way from home, and the last thing they expect to find is family. Far from home, they must find a path through the new challenges and adventures that the big city offers while dealing with all the trials of growing up.' (Source: ABC3 website)
'Set among the turquoise waters and lethal wildlife of Australia's Far North Queensland and the Torres Strait, The Straits is an exotic, darkly humorous crime drama.
'The Montebellos are not your average Australian family. Modern day smugglers, their family business is transporting drugs into Australia and guns and exotic wildlife out, making use of ties of blood and loyalty in the Torres Strait Islands.
'When Harry, the head of the family, starts to plan his succession, a power struggle is sparked between brother and brother, wife and daughter. Under attack from ambitious bikies and mercurial PNG Raskols, the family must hold together through torture, assassination and imprisonment.'